Woman asleep with her head on the steering wheel of her car

How Dangerous is Driving While Feeling Sleepy?

How to Stay Awake while Driving

Have you ever noticed that you get more tired during winter than you do in summer? Naturally, our body releases a chemical called melatonin, a sleeping aid, when there is little to no sunshine. Since there are less daylight hours in the day during the winter months, you may find yourself getting drowsy earlier than normal. However, you will still need to continue your normal routine of work, school, or any other life events you have going on. This can create a bad situation where you end up driving while feeling drowsy. Let’s discuss how dangerous driving while feeling sleepy really is and what you can do to prevent drowsy driving.

[ READ MORE: How to Safely Drive in Harsh Weather ]

Dangers of Driving While Tired

Many drivers know not to get behind the wheel when they are impaired. However, many drivers will still drive when they are feeling tired as they do not realize that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence.

When you drive tired, your reaction time to brake and steer decrease, you don’t pay attention to the road as well, and you risk feeling asleep behind the wheel. As a result, your chances of crashing and causing injury or even death goes up significantly.

Who is Most Likely to Drive Sleepy?

The biggest culprits of drowsy driving are those that don’t get enough sleep. Others at risk include workers who work long shifts or the night shift, commercial drivers, and those who have a sleep disorder or taking medications that make them drowsy.

[ READ MORE: Driving Safely at Night ]

Preventing Drowsy DrivingMan driving his car at night

While the best method to avoid driving while sleepy is to not drive at all, this isn’t a realistic option for many who must commute for work or school. Experts recommend that adults get at least seven hours and teenagers get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Keep on a healthy sleep schedule and don’t deviate too much, even for the weekend. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you drowsy. If you have a sleep disorder or have symptoms of one, talk to your doctor to get yourself treated.

If you find yourself too tired while driving, be sure to pull over to a safe location and take a short nap. For more tips on driving safely, visit the Broadway Credit blog. Stay safe on the road!